Teachers: Use Your Summer to Make 2021-2022 School Year Phenomenal

  • The 2020-2021 school year has been a challenge in more ways than teachers can count, thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, the adjustments of masking and social-distancing, the opening and closing of schools, the need to teach remotely as well as in classrooms, and the worries about teacher, staff, and student health.

    But with the percentage of Americans who are partially or fully vaccinated increasing by the day, the hope is that the 2021-2022 school year can return to being closer to normal, even though most students aren’t yet eligible for the vaccine. It’s a safe bet that at least some remote learning will remain. But on the whole, the new school year promises to be less uncertain than 2020-2021.

    How do you plan to have a phenomenal school year in 2021-2022?

    One way is to take a graduate-level professional-development course this summer, like Dominican University’s online Powerful Possibilities: Navigating Your 2021-2022 School Year. The course, which is self-paced and can be taken for anywhere from two to six semester credit/units, includes collaboration and coaching by the university’s professional-development coordinators as well as sharing with other educators in your region.

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    “Keeping your teaching skills up-to-date during the summer is essential to staying on top of your game as an educator,” writes Candace Alstad-Davies on her teacher-career website, A+ Teachers’ Career Edge. “As with students, learning while on summer break must be reinforced. By practicing instructional skills, developing new classroom management strategies, and researching cutting-edge methods, you will ensure you can easily get back into the swing of things in the fall.”

    Hold on, you may be saying. You have enough to deal with in just getting through the end of this school year. You can’t even thought about the fall!

    We get it. This year has been like none other; many teachers have felt like they’re doing all they can do to just manage the day-to-day challenges of remote learning.

    “If you are like most educators, you are a bit overwhelmed right now,” says Dominican’s Powerful Possibilities video. “You need time: Time to sort out your successes, regroup, reorganize, and get your bearings back. Time to take care of yourself.” That’s why an online, self-paced course is ideal. And these actions will help you land on your feet in the fall, ready to meet the challenges of the new school year.

    Do you have a goal with which you’d like to begin the 2021-22 school year?

    Perhaps you’d like to become more dynamic with technology; organize your classroom and lesson plan differently; increase your teaching skills in a particular subject; concentrate on communication skills; focus on how to help struggling students; and recapture any ground that was lost during virtual learning. Now is the time to think about what you want, while you have the summer ahead of you to prepare.

    Some of the results of the Powerful Possibilities course include:

    • Pursue and complete projects you design, while earning graduate credit;
    • Return to school in the fall being prepared and inspired;
    • Have a positive impact on student achievement with strategic, creative, and flexible planning;
    • Accomplish goals specific to your own needs and classroom.

    The course is managed by Dominican University’s professional development coordinators, who will supervise different regions. Clicking on a state or region on the left side of the page will bring up the coordinators for your region, and give you email addresses and phone numbers for those specific to you.

    With every professional development coordinator, these are the stated objectives of the course:

    • Design a professional learning plan that reflects new learning and increases student achievement;
    • Demonstrate advanced professional practice through directed learning and planning;
    • Show how new learning will be implemented during the new school year;
    • Engage in a collaborative discussion with other educators to analyze the new learning;
    • Explore the connection between professional preparedness and the impact on educator well-being.

    How does the credit-earning system work? To earn two credits, 50 hours of work is required ($280); to earn three credits, 75 hours are required ($390); to earn four credits, 100 hours are required ($515); to earn five credits, 125 hours are required ($615); and to earn six credits, 150 hours are required ($715). Students can start logging hours as early as May 1 (if you want to begin even earlier, you can contact your regional professional development coordinator).

    For more information about the Powerful Possibilities course, click here. To explore Dominican University’s other online professional development courses, visit the website here and explore the possibilities. Make summer work for you!

    Image credit: iStock photos